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GNOME 45 Hits Beta: New Features & Missed Items

After a few days of delay, GNOME 45 beta is now available for testing.

The GNOME fans are excited as GNOME 45 makes its way to the beta phase, bringing an array of enhancements, tweaks, and new features. This release promises a smoother user experience and marks a significant shift in its core components and functionalities.

As GNOME 45 enters the beta phase, the UI, feature, and API freezes take effect. The beta phase is set to continue until September 2, when the release candidate is expected. Finally, you can expect the official GNOME 45 release on September 20, 2023.

Let’s dive into the highlights of what you can expect from GNOME 45.

GNOME 45 Desktop

GNOME 45: New features

At the heart of this release lies the all-new libadwaita 1.4, a core component that brings visual and functional improvements to the GNOME environment. Furthermore, the GTK version upgrades to GTK 4.11.4, ensuring a more efficient and polished experience for users and developers alike.

One of the most promising additions is the KMS (Kernel Mode Setting) thread, designed to enhance the performance of Mutter, GNOME’s window manager and compositor. This dedicated thread takes on the responsibility of handling cursor movements, thereby freeing up the main thread for other essential tasks. This architectural adjustment can lead to significant improvements in overall system performance. For in-depth technical insights, check out MR2777.

Mutter also introduces YUV colour support in Wayland, a move that can greatly benefit video and image processing. YUV, a colour space optimized for motion-heavy visuals, replaces RGB in scenarios where motion and efficiency matter. This novel feature allows applications to offload YUV->RGBA conversions to the compositor, further streamlining the visual experience.

GNOME 45 brings various improvements to user-facing elements. The About screen is now presented more straightforwardly, with detailed information available in a separate pop-up. Users can even copy system information in markdown format to the clipboard for easy sharing and troubleshooting.

The Software application witnesses several enhancements in GNOME 45, including an OS update indicator, streamlined Flatpak uninstalls, and End-of-Life (EOL) indicators for Flatpak packages. These changes aim to streamline the software management process and keep users informed about their applications.

GNOME 45 Software now shows when a Flatpak app reaches EOL

For fans of the GNOME default file manager, Nautilus, version 45 introduces a snappier and more responsive search experience. This enhancement comes courtesy of modernized code in the Tracker search engine, utilizing TrackerSparqlStatement and caching for multiple query executions.

The GNOME Web browser (Epiphany) presents users with a fully migrated Tab overview, utilizing the libadwaita widget for a smoother and more intuitive snapshot of websites, enhancing the browsing experience.

New tab overview in GNOME Web

GNOME 45 bids farewell to the GNOME Photos app from its default packaging while introducing a new camera app named Snapshot. Additionally, the Loupe app replaces the long-standing “eyes of GNOME” image viewer, although some features are slated for future implementation.

Visual enthusiasts will appreciate the revamped cursor set introduced by the Adwaita icon theme in GNOME 45. This sleek and crisp cursor set enhances aesthetics and contributes to improved productivity.

Features that could not make it to GNOME 45

Despite the strides made in GNOME 45, a few features couldn’t be incorporated into this release.

For a detailed feature guide, read our dedicate overview article on GNOME 45.

Download & Test

You can download the GNOME OS to test this version using the below link. Use this ISO only in virtual machines. If you are using GNOME Boxes, then use the Flatpak version.

For VirtualBox users, make sure to enable EFI (from VM Settings > System > Motherboard).

Arch Linux users, keep a watch in this page for availability in Arch testing repo.

Via announcement

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